Honors | Introductory Writing and Study of Literature 2
L142 | 1907 | C. Farris


1:25-2:15pm  TR  BH 138

Currently, we seem to live in an age of disclosure. Through television
shows, films, and books, we learn all sorts of things that people used
to hold private. For example, news reports of the Clinton/Lewinsky
scandal gave us startling details of the President's sex life, and
most any episode of Jerry Springer exposes intimate family traumas.
This course will focus on the issues raised by such revelations. In
particular, we will ponder the ethics of keeping and revealing
secrets, even as we bear in mind that the "truth" can be hard to
identify. We will examine a variety of novels, plays, poems,
autobiographies, and films, including works from earlier periods.

The course will be divided into four units. First, we will look at two
well-known texts about family secrets, Henrik Ibsen's play, A Doll's
House, and Toni Morrison's novel, The Bluest Eye. Next we will read a
pair of novels, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Albert
Camus' The Fall, both of which leave readers figuring out how to judge
a confession's reliability. In the third unit, we will look back at
the 1950s, when the U.S. government forced many Americans to confess
their involvement with leftist organizations and name other members of
them. Specifically, we will relate Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible,
and Elia Kazan's film, On the Waterfront, to this era. The last part
of the course will center on newer works in which Gordon's memoir, The
Shadow Man, the television adaptation of Donald Margulies' play,
Collected Stories, and Paul Auster's novel, City of Glass.

Since this is also a composition course, the lectures and the class
discussions will spend much time considering how to write about the
material we analyze. Writing assignments will include four short
position statements (two pages each) and two longer papers (3-4 pages
each). There will also be midterm and final examinations.